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Monday, November 28, 2011

Rudderless drift!

Mission, Vision, Objectives, Targets, Action Plan, Individual Action Points and in that order organizations are supposed to think and act. It is basically a pyramid of sorts and the bottom layers are to be in consonance with the upper. It obviously cannot be otherwise.

Is it not therefore unfortunate that in the railways, while the mission is unambiguous, there is an absolute absence of vision at all levels, in all sectors and in alll territories. How can inclusive development be possible in this scenario. And therefore we have disjointed capacity addition plans in a scenario where even completed works have failed to give the necessary respite.

Traffic on the railways is increasing very fast, be it the passenger or the freight sector. Rightly so, being in a monopolistic situation in a sellers market in a nation where economic growth is bound to spiral, railways need to continuously gear up to handle the ever growing traffic.

But are we even looking in that direction? With the existing traffic being far in excess of our capacity to efficiently handle matters, every incremental growth is adding to the chaos. Therefore while normal commercial enterprises welcome a growing market, we in the railways while paying lip service to the advantages of the growing traffic, actually in our hearts dread the scenario that can at best be described as menacing. A situation where even routine maintenance of the track becomes a headache for operations is definitely not a very happy state of affairs to be in and the situation is bound to worsen rapidly with the ever increasing number of trains and almost frozen infrastructure levels.

On a micro level, it pained me to experience the reality that the already over dense Delhi area does not have a master vision plan for the passenger and goods segment. Piecemeal, yet highly cost intensive works are limping ahead with no target dates whatsoever. These works are also a classic case of blocking precious funds for long periods without even a hope of returns in sight. And we say we are terribly short of funds.

Yes we are short of funds and the situation is really comatose, yet should not this catastrophic situation impel us to put our act togethor?

Shall we ever learn?


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